He struck his hands together violently, the fist of one into
the palm of the other. " The fool!" he exclaimed, " the God-
damned fool; the poor God-damned fool!"
He felt better then, and rode on. The whole matter almost
seemed then, on the moment, like something known for a
long time. He would fix his gaze, as before, upon some distant
point and bend every energy upon it, so that he seemed to be
drawn out of himself. And so powerfully could he distract
himself in this exercise that, as he rode up the drive toward
his own house and saw a faint light in one of the windows
downstairs, no question crossed his mind. He saw the light,
and accepted it; that was all.
He went directly to the stable, and unsaddled the mare.
Then, having the key to the front and not to the side door,
he returned across the yard, under the maples. A few pre-
maturely fallen leaves rustled beneath his tread.
Not until he had pushed open the door and stood on the
threshold, the key still in his hand, did the significance of the
light, which he now saw falling faintly into the hall from the
half-open door of the room at the left, really take hold upon
him. He had told May that he might not come back until
very late, or perhaps not at all, and that she should get Rosie
to sleep up at the house. He drew the door softly shut behind
" Perse," he heard his own name pronounced. It was May's
He stood stock-still, with his hand still on the knob of the
door behind him. Then she came into the hall. Her small
figure was outlined against that dim light from the room
" Perse," she repeated.
He tried to speak to her, but the words would not come, his
throat was so dry and constricted.
" Perse, what's the matter?" she demanded, her voice rising
and her gaze unwaveringly fixed upon him.
"Nothing," he managed to say, and took a step toward